General Information

Balsam Tours

General Information

Balsam Tours

  • Welcome to Israel

    Israel has two operating airports. The main airport is Ben Gurion with a secondary airport in Eilat. At present, US travelers are issued a visa upon arrival at either airport, but you are strongly encouraged to consult with your travel advisor for updates. IMPORTANT: Please make sure to place your visa in a safe, secure location as you will be required to present it to officials upon departure from Israel.

  • Language

    Israel’s national language is modern Hebrew, with Arabic being another commonly spoken language.  However, English is the most common language used for foreign communication making it easy to converse.  Most street signs are written in all three languages.  Other languages common to the area include Russian, French, Aramaic, and Spanish, as well as others.

  • Weather

    Israel is a 4-season country with a Mediterranean climate. Summer typically runs from April to October with July-August being the most hot and humid. Fall and winter are usually cooler and run from November to March with much of the rain falling in these months. The climate will vary significantly throughout the country due to its various elevations. For example, while the northern Golan area often reports snow in the winter, Eilat in the south boasts of nearly 360 sunny days per year, making it the perfect winter retreat!

  • Money and Currency

    The New Shekel is the current currency used in Israel and consists of paper money and coinage.  Foreign currencies may be brought into the country, and easily exchanged for local currency.  Licensed exchange offices are readily available in larger cities.  Cash withdrawals are easily made from widespread ATMs via international credit or debit card.  It is wise to advise your personal bank of your travel plans to avoid problems withdrawing funds from ATMs.

  • Weekly Schedules

    One of the most important factors to consider when planning your trip is the weekly Israeli schedule. The Israeli week runs from Sunday through Thursday/Friday morning. Friday afternoon and Saturday are spent observing the Jewish Sabbath called Shabbat and most shops, restaurants, and tourist venues are closed. This can make travel and dining less convenient, so please plan accordingly.

  • How to Pack

    We often get asked this question.  Easily stated, for summer travel, you need to bring very comfortable loose-fitting clothing and wear excellent walking shoes.  The same holds true for winter travel but also bring a jacket and umbrella.  Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat are always appreciated.  Be prepared to walk longer distances than you anticipate, so make sure that your shoes are comfortable with a firm arch; walking on the ancient, uneven cobblestone streets found in most towns can be very difficult for long periods.  Ladies, you will often appreciate having a scarf with you as many sites require women to modestly cover their heads upon entering.